Students will still have a chance to apply early to Yale next fall,
the University announced Thursday, despite the recent elimination of early
admissions at Harvard and Princeton.
review of Yale's single choice early action program, Yale President Richard
Levin and Dean of Admissions Jeffrey Brenzel
announced Thursday that the University will continue offering the option for
high school seniors applying next fall. Outside counselors gave mixed reviews
of early admissions policies, but generally agreed that next year will see
significant changes in the patterns of early applications to schools that
continue to offer the programs.
fact that low-income students are underrepresented in its early applicant pool,
Harvard announced in September that it would abolish its single choice early
action program next year. Princeton and the University of Virginia
announced their intentions to get rid of their binding early decision programs
the following week.
But Brenzel said Yale concluded that the nonbinding early
action program offers the most flexibility to applicants - including those
applying for financial aid - in making their college choices.
early action program, students have the option of applying only to Yale in
November and receiving a decision in mid-December. If accepted, they are not
bound to attend Yale and may apply to other schools through regular decision
provision provides students the option of expressing a preference for Yale,
while freeing them from the pressures associated with binding early decision
programs," he said.
students admitted under early action are not required to accept the school's
offer until May, Brenzel said, applicants from
low-income families are able to compare financial aid offers before making a
decision about where to go to school. Since switching from early decision to
early action in 2002, Yale has seen an increase in the number of financial aid
students who apply early, Levin said.
interview appearing in the January-February edition of the "Yale Alumni
Magazine," Levin said the situation has changed since he stated in 2002 that he
would like to see early admissions eliminated everywhere.
emphasized that every school would have to eliminate early admissions to
achieve the desired result," Levin said in the interview. "But this is very
unlikely to happen. If Yale were to eliminate early admissions now, it is most
likely that we would end up with a system where the top three or five schools
had no early program, and just about everybody else did."
Yale's top four competitors in undergraduate admissions - Stanford University
and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - made it clear after Harvard's
announcement that they were not changing their early action policies. This
further emboldened Yale to continue its early program, Levin said.
conversations with Yale admissions officers, high school counselors and
administrators also expressed concern that eliminating early admissions might
lead to more competitive students receiving multiple offers from top- and
second-tier schools that would otherwise have gone to other students, Levin
quite a bit from the input we got from outside," he said. "It was pretty clear
that no one else was going to move."
officials have said that applicants will benefit most if other schools follow
continue to hope that other schools will join us, because we believe that this
change will sharpen the focus of the admissions process on its most important
goal - helping students find the right college match,"
John Longbrake, a senior communications director at
Harvard, said in an e-mail.
In the wake
of changes at Harvard and Princeton, Brenzel said, the admissions office is uncertain about how
the number of early action applicants will change next year.
see an increase as some students utilize either the Yale or the Stanford or the
MIT nonbinding early action programs, while intending to apply later to Harvard
or Princeton," he said.
students may decide to apply to binding early decision schools because they
would be willing to forego applying later to Harvard or Princeton
if accepted at an early decision school they feel to be an excellent fit. Then
again, many students who are strongly focused on Harvard or Princeton
may simply wait until the regular process to file all of their applications."
admissions experts and high school guidance counselors offered mixed
assessments of how Yale's announcement will change the college admissions
landscape next year.
outside experts said students who otherwise might have applied to Harvard and Princeton will likely submit an early application to
Yale, while still applying regular decision to their first choice. Although
this might decrease Yale's yield - the percentage of students admitted who
choose to matriculate - that consideration is secondary to assembling a strong
class, Levin said.
made the right strategic decision to maintain its early option after Harvard
and Princeton discontinued theirs, said Chuck
Hughes, president of the college admissions counseling firm Road to College and
a senior admissions officer at Harvard from 1995 to 2000. Many of the students
who would have applied early to Harvard or Princeton
will likely apply to Yale, said Hughes, who predicted that Yale will see a 25
to 50 percent increase in early applications next year.
Yale's athletic program is also likely to benefit from retaining early action,
since coaches will be able to offer athletic recruits full acceptance by
December instead of the inconclusive "likely letters" that Harvard and Princeton coaches will be able to offer.
Newman, associate director of college counseling at the private Brentwood School
in Los Angeles, Calif., said early admissions programs can
accelerate the stress of college applications for high school students.
student who's admitted [early], of course it relieves their stress, but it
moves their stress up earlier in the year to a month and a half before everyone
else," he said. "While everyone else has time to ease into their senior year,
these students are already working on applications in September."
Courtney, head counselor at the public Garfield
High School in Seattle, Wash.,
said he thinks there may be negative repercussions for students who are not in
the top group of applicants if the most competitive students choose not to
apply early and instead apply to more schools during the regular decision
students that apply to ten schools and are accepted to all ten," he said. "If
they just apply to the one [school] through early admissions that they really
wanted, those other nine slots could have been given to someone else."
colleges and universities are able to account for yield when making admissions
decisions, Newman said.
think it's really going to affect kids one way or the other," he said. "These
schools have a good handle on who's applying and who's
going to actually attend."
current Yalies, as well as those who were admitted in
December for the class of 2011, describe early admissions as a blessing.
Martin, a senior at Philips Academy Andover in Andover, Mass.,
was accepted to Yale early and plans to matriculate next fall. She said the
greatest benefit of applying early was the peace of mind from finding out
months ahead of some of her classmates.
"I think it
gave me more of my senior year not to slide necessarily, but to get the process
out of the way," she said. "I think a lot of kids just like knowing as soon as
early action in particular is helpful for applicants, because early decision
requires an early commitment to one school. Few of her friends thought they
were ready to make such an important decision so early in the year, she said.
Mitchell Ji '09, who applied to Yale early action, said he strongly
agrees with the administration's decision to keep the program. He said he
disagrees with Harvard and Princeton that
single choice early action programs put some students at a disadvantage.
it's good that Yale is keeping early an option for applicants - I don't quite
understand why it hurts those seeking financial aid, because it isn't binding,"
he said. "It's also nice to see Yale stand firm for once and not follow in the
footsteps of Harvard."
Yale accepted 709 students from 3,594 early applicants for an admit rate of
19.7 percent, an increase from last year's Ivy League record-low acceptance
rate of 17.7 percent.